Everybody knows that all dogs love running around wide open spaces, but there are some breeds in particular that are far better suited for life on the farm than others.
If you’ve been thinking about adding a dog, or two, or five to your ranch, you may want to consider one of the breeds listed below.
All of the dogs on this list are tried and true farm dogs that have long histories of being used for herding, hunting, and/or scaring off predators – including burglars. Many of these breeds are also loyal companion dogs that get along great with kids and other pets.
Australian Shepherds are a classic farm dog. They love being outside, and they love herding animals. They are also friendly dogs who enjoy socializing with people; however, that’s not to say they won’t alert you of intruders and bark at other animals who don’t belong.
These large, imposing dogs are the perfect dog for protecting you and your livestock. One look at a Great Pyrenees, and most predators will promptly hit the road. But don’t let that make you afraid of owning one. Great Pyrenees can actually be very sweet dogs and they get along great with kids.
Bred specifically for retrieving game, Labrador Retrievers make excellent hunting dogs, but they also enjoy pretty much any other kind of activity. Their calm temperament makes them obedient and easy to get along with, and they have a reputation for being a wonderful family dog.
If you truly live for hunting and expedition, then the American Foxhound might be the perfect breed for you. George Washington used to hunt with these dogs, so if they’re good enough for the first president of the United States, then they’re good enough for your ranch. They’re also not that hard on the eyes.
Blue Heelers – aka Australian Cattle Dogs – make excellent farm dogs. They enjoy being outside, they love to herd livestock, they’re highly intelligent, and they even make good protectors. Whether you’re only looking for one dog to add to your ranch, or several, Blue Heelers are a great choice.
This intelligent breed with a muscular build was bred for hunting and companionship. Pointers are full of energy and always ready to go wherever you’re headed, but they’re equally content patrolling acreage for any potential game that may be lurking the perimeter.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Loyal and hardworking, Bernese Mountain Dogs make a wonderful addition to any family ranch. Though beautiful and playful, these dogs are robust and built for labor. Don’t let their cute looks deceive you, the average Bernese Mountain Dog weighs in at 80 to 100 lb., which means predators and intruders won’t find them nearly as lovable as you do.
The Giant Schnauzer, largest of all the schnauzer breeds, was bred in Germany in the 17th century specifically for doing work. These dogs want to work, they want to herd your livestock, and they want to keep you and your property safe. The Giant Schnauzer is an excellent choice for your ranch.
Bearded Collies are sometimes mistaken for their cousins, the Old English Sheepdog, but upon closer inspection it’s easy to see this diminutive alternate is not quite the same. Nevertheless, Bearded Collies have similar characteristics, including their love of herding and being a part of the family.
Bluetick Coonhounds are known for their friendly personality and their ability to hunt raccoons. If you’ve got a serious raccoon problem, the Bluetick Coonhound is the breed for you.
Parson Russell Terrier
If you love small dogs but hate foxes, the Parson Russell Terrier is the dog for you. This breed loves to hunt foxes, as well as work in stables, but a word of warning: they do not like to be handled roughly by small children. So if you have kids and you’d like to get a Parson Russell Terrier, just make sure they know how to behave around dogs.
Though often thought of as fierce guard dogs and police dogs, Rottweilers love being out on the ranch. And yes, they are fantastic guard dogs that will scare off any intruder, ranger from people to predators. However, they can also be sweet, loving dogs that can even get along with kids and other pets.
The iconic firefighting dog would actually prefer to be on your ranch. This dog loves the outdoors and farming. They’re a playful breed that enjoys being outside, but when push comes to shove, they can take matters seriously. Dalmatians are also a family-friendly breed that are loyal and get along well with others. However, their muscular build and medium-to- large size also makes them a good deterrent to unwanted guests.
With their mop-like appearance, this breed looks like a character from Sesame Street, but don’t let that fool you: Komondors are a serious guard dog. They are a territorial breed that can get up to 130 lb., which makes them ideal for scaring predators away. If you’re somebody who only likes having one dog on the farm, this is the one because they prefer being the only dog.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Cute as a button and full of spunk, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi lives for herding animals. They’ll even herd your children! Seriously.
German Shepherds are a great all-purpose breed. They’re intelligent, loyal, obedient, protective, and they get along well with kids and other animals. However, German Shepherds are known to have a bad case of separation anxiety, so if you plan on leaving the dog along for long periods of time, except some retributive damage when you return home.
Also known as the Catahoula Leopard Dog, this breed is strong and courageous. They will take on any predator without hesitation. They are also know for their incredible stamina. The Catahoula Cur is a breed that simply won’t quit.
Jack Russell Terrier
Got a rodent problem on your ranch? The Jack Russell Terrier would love to help out! This dogs love hunting rats, raccoons, and other small vermin. They are also an exceptionally playful breed. Oh, and did we mention they’re super cute?
A truly beautiful dog, the Scotch Collie is more than just a pretty face. Sometimes called the “Smooth and Rough Collie,” this intelligent and lovable breed makes an excellent companion dog that can be trained to do a variety of tasks, including herding, fetching, and even pulling carts.
Old English Sheepdog
A large, eponymous dog bred for herding, the Old English Sheepdog is a breed bred right on the farm. These dogs are farm dogs, period. Ranging in size from roughly 60 to 100 lb., they will herd your livestock as well as they keep them safe.
Thousands of animal shelters all across the country are filled with mixed-breed dogs – aka mutts – that would love to come live on your ranch. Mutts really do make excellent farm dogs since they are typically mixed with many of the breeds listed above. Before you go shopping for a pure bred, consider looking for the perfect mutt.